Wind report eases noise concerns

A study commissioned by the government into sound created by the country’s 133 wind farms has concluded that the occurrence of complaints about noise is low.

Acoustics researchers at SalfordUniversityinvestigated complaints of the noise created by aerodynamic modulation (AM), a phenomenon sometimes compared to the sound of a distant train.

By surveying all of the local authorities with wind farms in or near their areas, the team discovered that the incidents of complaints were relatively insignificant compared with complaints about other noise sources.

Based on the university’s findings, the Government Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) does not consider there to be an issue for the UK’s wind farm fleet, nor to be a compelling case for more work into AM at this time.

Dr Andy Moorhouse, who led the study, said: ‘We are not implying that individual complaints about windfarms are less important than for other types of noise, but this report confirms that wind turbine noise is a comparatively minor issue nationally in terms of the number of people affected.

‘We discovered 239 formal complaints over a 15 year period for the whole UK and that compares with the national average of more than 300,000 per single year for noise complaints in general.’

The SalfordUniversity report follows another study in 2006 commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry (now BERR) which concluded that AM was occurring in some wind farm sites.

Out of all the working wind farms at the time of the Salford study, there were four cases where AM appeared to be a factor.

Complaints have decreased for three out of four of these sites, in one case as a result of a wind turbine control system. In the remaining case, investigations are ongoing.

For a full copy of the report go to